Saturday, August 22, 2009

Yer Doing it Wrong

Mike Huckabee tells Israelis that Evangelical Christians are "so much more supportive of Israel than the American Jewish community." This, of course, is part of a long line of Christians telling Jews they're better at being Jewish than we are. I wonder if it even occurred to Huckabee that if most Jews had a different conception of what "pro-Israel" means than he does, maybe he should, you know, reevaluate his own opinions on the meaning of the term, rather than just assume we suck at life.

Matt Yglesias points out the form Evangelical Christian "support" of Israel takes (I refuse to buy into the frame that they are actually "more" supportive than I am) is simply based off a affinity for violence as a tool for solving problems -- which goes into hyperdrive here since it isn't their people who will be counting the body bags if their apocalyptic vision is enacted. Being Jewish, I consider a bad thing to support policies which have a near-certainty of seeing more Jews killed. Non-Jews may not care quite as much on that score as I do, which is their business, but I think it is perverse that this lack of empathy gets translated to mean "support".

5 comments:

Joe said...

"This, of course, is part of a long line of Christians telling Jews they're better at being Jewish than we are."

Waitaminute. Are you claiming "support" for Israel (however you want to define it) is an essential part of Jewishness? That would piss me off if I were Jewish.

Rebecca said...

Joe, for these Evangelicals, "support" for Israel is an essential part of Jewishness.

PG said...

David, you should start a new tag, "Judeo-Christian" (with the quotes around it), for these instances when you want to tell certain Christians to stop telling you what you are and stop trying to take over your religious identity for their purposes. I feel like the popularity of that phrase among the Huckabee types (see also Rep. Forbes, Cantor, et al) has pretty much destroyed whatever usefulness it once may have had for describing the intersection of Judaism and Christianity, and may as well be used for relentless mockery instead.

Joe said...

Rebecca, that's undoubtedly true. But I'm curious why it sort of seems like David lets that part go unchallenged and jumps right into the thick of what we should consider "support."

David Schraub said...

There is no "essence" of being Jewish (any definition of "Jewish" is always going to be contested), but insofar as we can speak of the cultural norms of Jewishness, supporting Israel in some abstract form is presumptively a part of that. That doesn't mean there is no room for dissent (just like one can argue against other inter-subjectively accepted elements of being Jewish, like patrilineal dissent or some form of religious observance), but if we're to talk of groups in any form, it's going to involve generalizations.